Recent News & Blog

Posted on January 15th, 2021 in Local News, Organizational Updates, Success Story

The entire EmployIndy and YES Indy family mourns with the Indianapolis community after the loss of “Mr. Johnny” Purchase, a beloved mentor and community leader who helped shape the lives of so many young persons throughout our city. He was an active and dedicated member of both the YES Indy and Edna Martin Christian Center (EMCC) teams, providing mentorship and guidance to so many who participated in youth and family focused programming. 

“He’s one of the most thoughtful men I know.” expressed Jamiah Banks, a YES Indy participant, in remembering the role that Mr. Johnny played in his life. “He did whatever he could to help others.” Jamiah also recalled memories of how Mr. Johnny would help him with his school work and regularly challenge him to 3-point shootout competitions in the basketball gym.

Mr. Johnny tragically lost his life on January 12, 2021 while out serving in the community, bringing hope to struggling families. When serving with YES Indy, Mr. Johnny was always faithful to reinforce YES Indy’s work by encouraging the young people around him to establish a vision for their life and achieve it. “Mentor, life-coach, motivator, professional, passionate, compassionate, committed, dependable, firm, fair, warm, steady. These are but a few of the adjectives that come to mind when I think of Johnny Purchase.” said Rev. Rodney T. Francis, Chief Programs Officer at EmployIndy. “Johnny epitomized the ideal Re-Engagement Facilitator. He had a unique way of reaching and connecting with Opportunity Youth. His impact was huge and his loss is a tremendous blow to our community.”  

When Devonte Whitehead, a mentee of Mr. Johnny’s, received his forklift license, Mr. Johnny took him out to lunch to celebrate the accomplishment. “Everything he did, he did it with a purpose.” remembers Whitehead. “He would always have a smile on his face and if you were having a bad day, he could cheer you up by just looking at you.”

Mr. Johnny Purchase served as a Family Success Coach at the Edna Martin Christian Center (EMCC) where he had an “unyielding commitment to engender a vision of hope.” Lashawn Offett, a mentee of Mr. Johnny’s at EMCC, described him as a caring person who ultimately motivated him to go back to school to finish his diploma.

On behalf of all of the EmployIndy staff, we ask that you join us in lifting up the Purchase family, keeping them in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time. If you would like to offer support in additional ways, details can be found on the family’s GoFundMe page:

Posted on March 16th, 2020 in Local News, Organizational Updates, Press Releases
Virtual resources and, until further notice, WorkOne Indy center will continue to be available to Indianapolis residents affected by job loss as COVID-19 evolves

Indianapolis – 16 March 2020 – WorkOne Indy is continuing to provide and maintain resources for job seekers as the effects of COVID-19 directly impact Indianapolis workers and job seekers. Due to event cancellations and temporary business closures, it is foreseen that individuals in Marion County could experience permanent or temporary job loss during this time.

These individuals are encouraged to first file for unemployment insurance through the Indiana Department of Workforce Development at Additional resources to assist affected workers with the unemployment insurance filing process, including information regarding frequently asked questions about payment, benefits, claims and voucher, are available at

Under the direction of the Indiana Department of Workforce Development, the WorkOne Indy American Job Center will remain open until further notice. WorkOne Indy will temporarily discontinue community services at embedded locations due to the temporary closure of the Indianapolis Public Library and adult education locations. Individuals accessing WorkOne Indy services in those locations should be redirected to the main office at 4410 N. Shadeland Avenue to access services. 

Due to the need to possibly accommodate more visitors in response to these circumstances, some non-required, onsite workshops may also be offered with less frequency or temporarily suspended in an effort to adjust to staffing levels that may be impacted by this pandemic. Adjustments will be made to adhere to the most recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendation to implement restrictions on all non-essential gatherings of more than 50 individuals in Indianapolis. This includes Wednesdays at WorkOne, a weekly job fair at WorkOne Indy, which has been cancelled until further notice.  

Job seekers are still able to utilize the resources provided at WorkOne Indy:

  • Job search assistance;
  • 1:1 career navigation;
  • Publicly available computers;
  • Career development tools; and
  • Assistance with filing for unemployment benefits.

Individuals currently receiving unemployment insurance, and who have recently received letters requiring them to attend a Reemployment Services and Eligibility Assessment orientation workshop at WorkOne Indy, are exempt for the next four weeks or through the week of April 17th. These individuals are not required at this time to visit WorkOne Indy.

As dislocated workers navigate their recent financial change, Mayor Joe Hogsett’s office, in partnership with EmployIndy, will offer free, no-strings attached financial counseling available through Pete the Planner. Individuals interested in the service can get started by emailing: 

In addition to seeking in-person support at WorkOne Indy and financial counseling through Pete the Planner, job seekers can access virtual resources, career development tips, and additional information on On, the Job Board will remain available and be regularly updated by EmployIndy staff for job seekers to use as a tool during their job search process. 


Updates and information regarding the job search process will continue to be shared by EmployIndy in order to keep Marion County job seekers readily informed, including those who have experienced permanent or temporary dislocation due to the economic effects of COVID-19.

Posted on June 20th, 2019 in Local News

A study this past November stated that over 200,000 Marion County residents live in food deserts – areas defined by low food access and low income (SAVI program, IUPUI Polis Center). With this knowledge and a mission to raise up the community from within, Flanner House began constructing Cleo’s Bodega and Cafe on the Near Northwest Side of Indianapolis.

Following the concept of providing paid opportunities for those in their neighborhoods, YouthBuild Indy participants to assisted in the construction of the Bodega, providing young adults with the paid work experience needed to thrive in the workforce.Over the course of five days, five trainees and two carpenters applied 8000 square feet of drywall and finish to Cleo’s Bodega.

The fresh food at Cleo’s Bodega and Cafe is all locally grown and sourced from farmers markets throughout Indianapolis, another way that Flanner House is bridging the low income/low food gap in their community. “At its manageable size and its involvement of local farmers and producers, Cleo’s Bodega may very well serve as a model for solving food scarcity in our city,” said Mayor Joe Hogsett at the grand opening of Cleo’s on June 20.

As part of their efforts to solve the food desert in their community, Flanner House has implemented the F.E.E.D. (Farming, Education, Employment, Distribution) program, funded by EmployIndy’s YES Indy grant. This grant makes it possible for providers to continue growing their programs that mirrors EmployIndy’s youth initiative focus: to impact, engage, and create opportunities for young adults in Indianapolis, specifically the opportunity youth population.

The F.E.E.D. program is designed to help young men and women who are currently not enrolled in school, unemployed, and engaged in the legal system gain the skills they need to be educated in the growing sectors of the local food economy in Indianapolis. In addition, these young people are provided with paid work experiences through Flanner House by planting, harvesting, and going out into the community through farmers markets.

Paid work experiences, bridging education gaps, and engaging in inclusive growth are all crucial to building a successful workforce. Not only do the individuals who go through the YouthBuild Indy and F.E.E.D. programs receive basic on the job training, they are also growing their skillset. YouthBuild Indy participants receive their high school equivalency and/or NCCER certification upon program completion and F.E.E.D. participants gain experience in growing, preparing, and processing food as well as learn first hand about food distribution in sales.

“It is the vision of this neighborhood that has made all of this possible,” said Tedd Grain, Executive Director at LISC Indianapolis. Neighborhoods and the residents herein rely heavily on inclusive growth and development in order to improve their quality of life.

With a mission of furthering the workforce by providing individuals with the skills needed to excel, EmployIndy is deeply engaged in both neighborhood redevelopment and the upskilling of young adults in Indianapolis. “The relationship with EmployIndy is exceptional,” said Turner. “We are constantly in need of relationships on the employer side and EmployIndy has been crucial in helping us broker those relationships.”